Geralt of Rivia—Henry Cavill’s version of him, especially—is known for many things, from monster-slaying to sitting rather handsomely in a bathtub. But perhaps one of his most infamous traits after season one of the Netflix series was endless compilations of him doing nothing but glowering and grunting his way across the Continent. That’s expected to change in season two, for some very heartwarming reasons.
Speaking as part of an interview for last Friday’s “WitcherCon” celebration of the franchise across Netflix and CD Projekt Red’s games, Cavill discussed the memetic quality of Geralt’s hmmms and huhs in season one, and what actually led to his Geralt—more directly inspired by Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels, even if some of Doug Cockle’s performance in the Witcher games was a definite influence—not being all that talkative. “I wanted him to be more verbose, more of an intellectual—more representative of a man who’s lived 70 years, and has a philosophical lean, and, and yeah, can be mopey at times but also... he’s wise, he’s been around,” Cavill said in the interview (the full version of which you can find below—the grunt talk starts roughly 21 minutes in). “And he’s a nice guy, despite the fact he has moments of unpleasantness and is very capable of doing extraordinary violence.”
“There’s a comedy aspect [to Geralt being a ‘grumpy snowman’], and I wanted to lean away from that. I played the season one way deliberately, which was him in the wilds and without the opportunity for vast swaths of dialogue,” Cavill continued. “I thought best, ‘be the man who is speaking less because that seems like he’s thinking more’—that was the intention with that.”
But as Cavill went on to explain, the second season finds Geralt not quite out in those wilds, but instead in familiar places and among familiar people, which meant Geralt had the chance to open up again (people like Ciri, who he finally found at the climax of season one, and new-to-us/old-to-him figures like Kim Bodnia’s Vesemir, the Witcher that taught Geralt the ways of monster-killing at the fabled Kaer Morhen.) “I was of the opinion that [with Geralt at ‘home’ in Kaer Morhen] you had to let him be verbose, and be philosophical, and speak more—and be intellectual,” Cavill reasoned. “Because that’s what he is, he’s not just a big old white-haired brute.”
No doubt there’ll still be enough growling for at least some fan edits by the end of Witcher’s second season—but for now, at least, expect them to be a little shorter. The Witcher returns to Netflix on December 17.
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